In our experience here at The Claim Lab, along with our involvement in other insurance technology projects and claims initiatives, one truth has consistently emerged. Even though projects, new initiatives, and implementations may be drastically different, well-planned projects succeed and poorly planned projects fail.
The acclaimed early insurance claims icon, Sun Tzu, once said, “Every battle is won before it is fought.” I could have chosen from literally dozens of his quotes (another below) included in “The Art of War” that espouse the value of and necessity for preparation.
So, according to the always reliable School of Hard Knocks, steps to a successful project, initiative, or implementation may be sorted in the following way:
- Proactive Planning. There should be clarity around the goals and desired outcomes of the project. A well-considered project plan should be developed, and processes defined. Thought should be given to the prioritization of the project relative to other department activities, so the organization is aligned, and focus isn’t lost. The right resources and skill sets should be identified and procured to optimize project expertise.
- The Right Sponsor. Getting an executive sponsor helps with this last point, even if a relatively small initiative, make it big, get the right attention on your project.
- Measure and Monitor. What is your current (quantified) baseline and what are the desired outcomes? What would a successful ROI look like and what metrics support that? Project milestones will help keep everyone focused along the say. Frequent monitoring and review of the data and overall progress is essential. This is not only a critical step to even start a project, but to advance it past the pilot phase.
- People. A project’s success totally depends on the whims of those pesky and fickle humans. Strong project leadership and evangelism, executive sponsorship, effective change management, communication, and buy-in from the front line are all key.
For us, it is this last point that is key, and maybe this is particularly hard in the claim’s world. But when we introduce psychosocial factors into the claims process special attention must be paid to the “People Aspect” of the project, the training of the case managers and support staff.
The process of introducing change to the claims process, the change management, is all about people, how receptive they are to new ideas and technology.
Some individuals don’t need telling twice, they are running ahead of us, whereas others need support and more training… and more support, so don’t be surprised, you have to plan for this.
Even for as something as implicitly obvious as the looking at the non-medical influencers on a claimant, which our projects focus, needs to be introduced with care.
If your team is considering any new strategic initiatives to improve your bottom line (maybe something to do with operationalizing psychosocial data as an example….), you may find this to be a helpful reference. We (and Sun Tzu) hope so.